Weak in Christ

Thanks to my son Kevin for causing me to think about this needed topic! http://www.dkers.net/k-anything/boast-in-weakness


One evidence that we do not have “freewill” is that our deaths are not “voluntary” but forced up on us from the outside. We are more like spectators than participants in our own dying. Judged before we were born, our only hope is the power of God to give us life.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

1 Corinthians 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling

2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

2 Corinthians 13:4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are WEAK IN HIM, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

Marva Dawn first sets out the standard translation. “My grace is
sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (37). A summary of her argument against this translation consists of the fact there is no possessive pronoun to make “strength” God’s strength and that the verb televw does not mean perfect, but ‘bring to an end’, which is in agreement with its use throughout the rest of the New Testament. Therefore she thinks that 2 Cor 12.9 should be translated “My grace is sufficient for you, for [your] power is brought to its end in weakness.” (41). This allows Dawn to make two fundamental claims about weakness and God’s tabernacling. First “…Paul’s power is brought to its end in his weakness; consequently, Paul glories in his weakness because through its very existence Christ is able to reveal his presence in him” (45), and second, “Even as Christ accomplished atonement for us by suffering and death, so the Lord accomplishes witness to the world through our weakness. Thus God has more need of our weakness than of our strength.” (47).

Sounds good, but no— If there is no possessive pronoun why does she say Paul is implied when it could be God?Notice the parallelism in the couplet, grace=power, sufficient =perfect. My grace =my power. Her making perfect, ‘come to an end’ also takes away the parallelism. Otherwise it would be that Paul’s strength was taken away and replaced by his weakness.

Philippians 4: 11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content

My reading of Philippians 4 makes it sound like Paul is being hostile
thanks for what you sent, but I didn’t need it
but i guess you need a thank you, and you will also receive reward from God for sending it to me (though you don’t need that it either) Philippians 4:10-20

Pity would be no more,
If we did not make somebody Poor:
And Mercy no more could be,
If all were as happy as we;

And mutual fear brings peace;
Till the selfish loves increase.
Then Cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care. William Blake

how can you solve a problem like maria (Sound of Music, sung by mother superior)

how can you give a gift to somebody who does not need anything?
create a need? first steal their stuff? Job was sitting pretty, and then there was this methodism, first take his family away, from problem to solution

now that you have kidney failure….

law before gospel, create a problem and then solve it, here’s the answer

hostile–i do not need anything

hostile back–you do need something
first 90 percent of a Billy Graham sermon

Bonhoeffer was critical of what he called ‘methodism.’ Many think that to win someone for the Christian faith one must speak to him [or her] at the point of his [or her] weakness. One who makes this assumption is then predisposed to attend to the shadow side of human existence, since it is that which proves that ‘something more is needed.’ Such ‘methodism jumps on a man when he is down’: it proves the need of God by proving we are no good without God. This is for Bonhoeffer the opposite of the gospel itself, which should be telling people, especially outsiders, about the love and goodness of God for is own sake, not trying to convince people of their misery or their guiltiness. Only if it is not seen as a response to weakness, only if its credibility does not depend on proving human weakness, is the gospel really the good news of the love of God as Creator, sustainer, Savior. Apologetic approaches that try first to make the point of human weakness and ignorance and lostness are hopeless, not because they do not say something true, but because what they are interested in proving is not the good news.” John Howard Yoder in The Priestly Kingdom: Social Ethics as Gospel, pg. 185

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28 Comments on “Weak in Christ”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    I Cor 7—I don’t need to be out of jail, I don’t need to be in jail, therefore there is nothing you can get me for Christmas

    Paul used his Roman citizenship twice:
    Acts 16:37 The first time was after being beaten and imprisoned in Philippi. He used it to no apparent benefit to himself. He announced his citizenship after his beating and humiliation. The effect was to put the public authorities on the spot. Paul got a severe beating-and then an apology. He didn’t get, or try to get, an audience with the powers. They wanted him to leave town, and he did.
    Acts 22:25-27.The second time Pul used his Roman citizenship was after the Jews had tried to kill him, but BEFORE he was flogged. The consequences of this dragged on for the rest of Paul’s life. It did not keep Paul from being killed. Paul was never ‘free’ again, spending the rest of his time in the Roman legal system/under arrest.
    Paul used his Roman citizenship at the last minute, to avoid being beaten (and he used the right of appeal to avoid being killed). Paul did not use it as a means to spread the gospel, because there was nothing about being Roman that could add to the gospel. For Paul the crucial issue was being in Christ, not the various ways one can be in the world. Being Roman didn’t make being in Christ more significant or effective. Being Roman didn’t create opportunity for the gospel.

    analogy—-the Jews wanted a human king, therefore it must be ok to have a human king, since God gave them one?

    not legitimate, status quo is expression of God’s predestinating plan, both good and evil

    If one were to say this hearing before Caesar was what God wanted and intended, we would have to recognize he went about it in an odd way. No foreshadowing or prophecy, no indication he wanted this to happen preceded the events recorded.
    The gospel seems to be for those who are powerless, or amenable to divesting themselves of power, not for those who have committed themselves to the exercise of the powers of the present age. Jesus didn’t pick his disciples from the leading people of his day. Rather, he chose those who existed on the margins of the powers; the taxpayers, not those who levied the taxes; the common folk who bore the cost of nation building, not the nation builders and their agents.

  2. markmcculley Says:


    I meet lots of people who think Christians are basically narcissistic. As opposed to our selfishness, these non-Christians claim willingness to be damned if any other person is going to be, They are even willing to say there is no such thing as wrath or damnation if anybody besides them would have to suffer it. They seem to agree with Kant’s position—-that any action done with self-interest is suspect, any fact believed while thinking that those who believe that fact will be rewarded is a suspect fact.

    I do get it. I myself suspect myself, and everybody else, including those who think “morality means no reward”.

    I suspect that those who think that “Calvinists want to get paid”, also want to get paid for not being Calvinists.

    But Jesus talked about reward, about good stuff like resurrection and immortality for those Jesus loved. The Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5-7.

    Would it be less narcissistic to say–well, Jesus loves me because I love him, and He would love you too, if you only would—-


  3. markmcculley Says:

    Many assume that Jesus whipped human beings in the temple. For them, it is plainly evident in the text itself. In point of fact, this is precisely not the case at all. There is absolutely no reason to understand Jesus whipping people in this account, There is a strand of Christianity, popular in America, which refuses to picture Jesus as “weak” or “defenseless,” and prefers to re-conceptualize Jesus as a macho guy like themselves..

    Mark Driscoll “ Some emergent types want to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy Zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. In Revelation, Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”

    Here’s the problem with the Macho Jesus theology: It’s a false Jesus. The biblical Jesus does lay down his life, and does not whip people. If a person is unable to worship a Jesus who chooses self-sacrificial love , then that person cannot follow the true Jesus.

    I don’t have a death wish. I want to live. I won’t be with Jesus any sooner after I die. Jesus comes again to earth for all His saints. . If somebody kills me, that is not me committing suicide. Do you think Jesus committed suicide by only having the two swords. Don’t tempt God by ignoring his commands

  4. markmcculley Says:

    the false god of prosperity theology—

    E. W. Kenyon—if you talk weakness you will be weak. Why? Because you are a spirit being not a physical being. We have sung “near the cross” but the cross has no salvation in it. It is a place of failure and defeat. When we go into partnership with God, and learn His way of doing business, we cannot be failures. Don’t just listen. Act on the word. Be doers of the word.”
    Kenneth Copeland—The biggest failure in the whole Bible is God. The only reason you don’t think of God as a failure is God never says any negative thoughts about being a failure.”


  5. markmcculley Says:

    what do you do with people who are no longer “useful”?

    just how “useful” do you think you are right now?

    I recall thinking the very last thing that day, before I finally passed out, weakness sure enough is real . Weakness is true and real. I used to accuse the kid of faking his weakness. But faking proves the weakness is real. Or you wouldn’t be so weak as to fake it. No, you can’t ever fake being weak. You can only fake being strong. . .”
    ― Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion




    If somebody were to give you something, then you would feel obligated, and strong enough to “reciprocate”?

    i don’t need no grace, i don’t need charity

    every gift has strings attached

    blessed to give, not to receive

    this is the way we are by nature

    parasites who deny we are paraistes


    • markmcculley Says:

      n defiance of human failure, God gives grace to the utterly unworthy idol worshipers of Gentile cities around the Mediterranean. Because grace erupts, cause-less, in the event of Jesus’ death and resurrection, it can therefore be given to anyone ….No preparation is necessary, and no conditions must be met before the gift of Christ may be received.

      A modern dictionary defines “gift” as something delivered to a recipient “gratuitously, for nothing.” Yet, according to John Barclay’s new book Paul and the Gift, It is Paul—not intuition or common sense or objective, timeless instinct—who is almost single-handedly responsible for making it seem obvious to most of us in the modern West that God’s grace excludes human working.

      For many 1st-century readers, God upheld his fidelity to Israel by distributing his grace to those who are worthy of it. For them this did not make God’s grace any less gracious. To define grace otherwise—to say that God gives it in disregard for the worth of its beneficiaries—they thought would be to open the door to moral chaos and anarchy, to snip the thread that links human pursuit of virtue with the deep structures of creation and providence.

      It was not “Lutheran theology” but Paul who undermined human religion’s quest to climb its way into divine favor. Opposing the “Judaizers” of his day, Paul in the 1st century anticipated Martin Luther’s struggles against a petty and fastidious medieval Catholicism in the 16th.

      Barclay grants that Luther mistakenly thought that Paul’s target in his Galatians epistle was self-reliant boasting (if that were the burning issue, “it is hard to see why Paul would discount both circumcision and uncircumcision”).

      Over against the “new perspective,” Barclay understands Paul to be unleashing a “bizarre,” even “dangerous” definition of grace . For Paul, grace is incongruous—it is a gift that does not “fit” or “match” the worth of those to whom God gives it. In defiance of human achievement, God gives grace to a supposedly successful but actually bankrupt person like Paul (the acme of Paul’s human “achievement” had actually set him against God’s church). http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/2016/janfeb/grace-redefined.html?paging=off

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Do you remember that song from some hymn books that says–yes we are able—so many think we (after we get justification out of the way) are able to help God produce our sanctification. We give God all the credit for enabling us to obey as well as we do, and we never claim to obey perfectly–so grace helps us, and then grace cuts us some slack and at least we are a little bit stronger than we were yesterday–i mean–gradually more holy, because every day God continues to kill the old man in us and that keeps us useful.

    John Murray–“God works in us and we also work. But the relation is that because God works we work” His understanding of progressive sanctification entails that man cannot claim anything good “in and of himself”.

    What relevance does the imperative have in proving the progressiveness of sanctification, if it’s the Holy Spirit alone who does the work? “What the apostle is urging is the necessity of working out our own salvation, and the encouragement he supplies is the assurance that it is God himself who works in us” (Murray, 149).

    But unless Murray assumes the command to be upon someone who had the ability to perform the command in some sense, then the command is irrelevant in respect to the ability of the regenerate.

    “God’s working in us is not suspended because we work, nor our working suspended because God works. Neither is the relation strictly one of co-operation as if God did his part and we did ours so that the conjunction or co-ordination of both produced the required result” (Murray). Murray would see both full divine participation and full human participation in the sanctification process. This is synergism

    I agree with Ed Boehl (The Reformed Doctrine of Justification, notice the critical preface by Berkhof to the last edition, in which he claims Boehl is too Lutheran). If conforming into the image of Christ is truly the work of the Holy Spirit alone, then it is difficult to claim a a new ability, in the regenerate man. The regenerate man is not given an improved ability from the Holy Spirit to obey God. This position does not deny that the regenerate man bears fruit. Nor does it deny that the Holy Spirit sometimes enables the believer to overcome sin. However, it not the case that this is an ability found within justified sinners.

  7. markmcculley Says:

    Derek Webb’s “Wedding Dress”

    Im a prodigal with no way home
    I put you on just like a ring of gold
    And I run down the aisle
    I run down the aisle to you

    So could you love this child
    Though I dont trust you to provide
    With one hand in a pot of gold
    And with the other in your side

    ‘Cause I am so easily satisfied
    That I would take a little cash
    ‘Cause I am a whore, I do confess
    But I put you on just like a wedding dress


  8. DavidC Says:

    Do you disagree, then, with the maxim ‘law to the proud, grace to the humble’

  9. markmcculley Says:

    I am not a situationist or even an existentialist, so I cannot read minds to know if my audience is legalistic in their antinomianism or simply passive mystics in their antinomianism. No matter. The gospel is about the satisfaction of the law, so to under the gospel is to understand what the law demanded. We all need to be humbled but our humility is not our righteousness.

  10. markmcculley Says:

    This is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. (I Peter 2:19)

    When you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. (2:20)

    Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless. (3:9)

    If you suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. (3:14)

    It is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (3:17)

    Rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (4:13)

    If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed. (4:14)

    If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. (4:16)

  11. markmcculley Says:

    Piper—When Jesus told the apostles to buy a sword, he was not telling them to use it to escape the very thing he promised they should endure to the death.

    Jesus said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough [that’s plenty].” (Luke 22:35–38)
    I do not think that Jesus meant in verse 36 that his disciples were to henceforth be an armed band of preachers ready to use violence to defend themselves from persecution. Jerry Falwell, Jr., said in his clarifying remarks on December 9,

    It just boggles my mind that anybody would be against what Jesus told his disciples in Luke 22:36. He told them if they had to sell their coat to buy a sword to do it because he knew danger was coming, and he wanted them to defend themselves.
    If that is the correct interpretation of this text, my question is, “Why did none of his disciples in the New Testament ever do that — or commend that?” The probable answer is that Jesus did not mean for them to think in terms of armed defense for the rest of their ministry. Jesus’ abrupt words, at the end of the paragraph, when the disciples produced two swords, were not, “Well, you need to get nine more.” He said, “It is enough!” or “That’s plenty!” This may well signify that the disciples have given a mistaken literal meaning to a figurative intention. Darrell Bock concludes,

    Two events [are] commentary on this verse [36]: Jesus’ rebuke of the use of a sword against the high priest’s servant (22:49–51) and the church’s nonviolent response to persecution in the Book of Acts (4:25–31; 8:1–3; 9:1–2; 12:1–5). In fact, Acts 4:25–31 shows the church armed only with prayer and faith in God. Luke 22:36 sees the sword as only a symbol of preparation for pressure, since Jesus’ rebuke of a literal interpretation (22:38) shows that a symbol is meant (Fitzmyer 1985: 1432; Marshall 1978: 825). It points to readiness and self-sufficiency, not revenge (Nolland 1993b: 1076). (Luke, volume 2, page 1747


  12. markmcculley Says:

    being rich and American means that all options are always refundable

    Unlike the Disney rat or panda or monster, who can be anything they want to be, we have limits, so that we cannot do whatever we want to do or even know what we want to do, despite the magic of capitalism and the free market.

    We are all poachers and parasites

    Contentment is laziness, “accepting stuff” instead of being strong enough to change yourself and everybody and everything

    why be content with your first choice, when every choice is still “reversible”?

    retirement is running out of “free dumb” —signing that power of attorney

    Adjusting to our regrets is easier than needing to make more choices.

    why stand out and be different, when you can buy a Toyota like everybody else did?

    dependency and community

    if individualism is a fiction, why are so many people still preaching about “more community” ?

    better my bad habits than re-inventing myself tomorrow with different habits

  13. markmcculley Says:

  14. markmcculley Says:

    Romans 15: 4 For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, in order that we have hope through endurance and through the ENCOURAGeMENT from the Scriptures. 5 Now may the God who gives endurance and ENCOURAGEMENT allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus

    Philippians 2:1 If then there is any ENCOURAGEMENT in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal.

    II Corinthians 1:3-4 3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all CONSOLATION 4 God comforts us in all our affliction, in order that webe able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows

    II Corinthians 7: 4 I have great confidence in you; I have great pride in you. I am filled with encouragement; I am overcome with joy in all our afflictions. 5 In fact, when we came into Macedonia, WE HAD NO REST. Instead, we were TROUBLED IN EVERY WAY– conflicts on the outside, fears inside. 6 But God, who comforts the humble, comforted us…

  15. markmcculley Says:

    As we get weaker, it can bring people together.

    So, it’s really beautiful to grow older. But as long as you have belonging. Because, if you get older and you have no belonging, there’s no one to say, ‘I’m with you in your weakness.’

    So weakness is something that can bring us together. It becomes the cement of friendship, the cement of community. I need you, I love you. It brings us together. Not any weakness, but the fragility of life.

    There is before us the ideal presented by Jesus, which is a great ideal, and at the same time we try to accept the reality that we are terribly weak and unable to reach the ideal.

    Not only are we weak, but we are continually hiding our own weakness.In our civilization we cannot say we are weak. If one admits to weakness, he admits death. We have a need to be right, to be conscious of our capacity and even more to convince others of our capacity, and to prove that we are someone. […]

    It is difficult to accept that we make mistakes. When for example, we as cook burn something, we become angry or we find it difficult to accept, whereas in reality, the cook should be allowed to burn things from time to time. Instead of being able to say simply, ‘Well, today I’m not a good cook,’ we cut ourselves off from other people. The fact is, maybe we aren’t very good cooks, but we can take the cookbook and grow in cooking.

    We must try to look at reality, the reality of our own weakness and then allow each other to make mistakes, trying with the help of the Holy Spirit to accept each other.

    Vanier maintains an especially delicate take on the human potential for transformation: obviously, for example, Down syndrome or crippling mental health disorders cannot be cured away; we will not simply outgrow them. These displays of weakness are parts of reality, not necessarily weights to lift off our shoulders or big nasty bugs to wipe off the windshield, and if we expect the mixed-up chaos of our humanity to become ordered and perfect, we might just pull our hair out, or flood the earth. In the words of his fellow Canadian, Celine Dion, “On ne change pas”… “We don’t change.” We might one day become a stellar cook, but we don’t outrun OCD or autism, or original sin.

    For Vanier, real transformation is not plotting the marginal decrease in the number of toast-burnings we experience per week. Transformation might look more like receiving the ability to accept that toast will occasionally burn and that we will be angry about it

    One of the great difficulties of community life is that we sometimes force people to be what they are not: we stick an ideal image on them to which they are obliged to conform. We then expect too much of them and are quick to judge or to label. If they don’t manage to live up to this image or ideal, then they become afraid they won’t be loved or that they will disappoint others. So they feel obliged to hide behind a mask. Sometimes they succeed in living up to the image; they are able to follow all the rules of the community. Superficially this may give them a feeling of being perfect, but this is an illusion.

    In any case, community is not about perfect people. It is about people who are bonded to each other, each of whom is a mixture of good and bad, darkness and light, love and hate. And community is the only earth in which each can grow without fear toward the liberation of the forces of love which are hidden in them. But there can be growth only if we recognize the potential, and this will never unfold if we prevent people from discovering and accepting themselves as they are, with their gifts and their wounds. They have the right to be rotters, to have their own dark places, and corners of envy and even hatred in their hearts. These jealousies and insecurities are part of our wounded nature. That is our reality.


  16. markmcculley Says:


    The instinctive hatred of reality: a consequence of an
    extreme capacity for suffering and excitement which no longer wants any contact at all because it feels every contact too deeply… The fear of pain… This inversion is the weak man’s
    revenge against the strong and so against life and this is therefore
    an attempt at affirming the power of the weak, though it is not
    through the satisfaction of exercising ones own strength, but through hating that of others’ who are stronger.” Nietzsche

    Psalm 91: 7 Though a thousand fall at your side
    and ten thousand at your right hand,
    the pestilence will not reach YOU
    8 YOU WILL ONLY SEE IT with your eyes

    9 Because you have made the Lord—my refuge,
    the Most High—your dwelling place,
    10 no harm will come to YOU;
    no plague will come NEAR YOUR TENT.
    11 For He will give His angels orders concerning YOU,
    to protect YOU in all your ways.


  17. markmcculley Says:

    If I can be saved, there is no one beyond redemption.” … Alas, yet another instance of egotism masquerading as humility.
    i don’t trust anybody who brags about themselves being the worst sinner, or the most dust of the dust. Some of these people seem to think they were elected because they were the poorest and the most stupid. If you are the most deplorable sinner ever, please take me to where you buried the bodies.
    It’s not true that “anybody can be saved”. All who can be saved will be saved because all of God’s elect will be saved

  18. markmcculley Says:

    Shabazz said. “It’s the thinking component in Islam that really intrigued me. I am in control of my grace, and I don’t have to answer to the imam.


  19. markmcculley Says:

    Mencken:In the midst of all our crusading, how is it that no moralist has dedicated himself to the extinction of the cigarette, that coffin nail, that debauchery, that father of crime? Elsewhere in this fair land it has been dealt staggering licks by the chemically pure. In Kansas, Iowa and Missouri the children in the public schools are taught to fear and abominate it; in Nebraska, Michigan and Alabama there are hot campaigns against it; in Indiana its sale is forbidden by law.

    But here in Baltimore not a single voice in raised against it. Our moralists are the most virulent in Christendom–their ardor, indeed, is often far more Mohammedan than Christian–and yet I have not heard a word from them about the licentious and diabolical cigarette.

    On the medical side the evidence against it is irrefutable and overwhelming. In Dr. Osler’s great work on “The Principles and Practices of Medicine” (lib. XIV, fol. 324) there is the direct statement that the cigarette is one of the most potent causative agents in influenza, cancer, diphtheria, ophthalmia, beri-beri and senile dementia. Dr. Osler there describes an experiment with guinea pigs made by Prof. Dr. Hugo Bierfisch, of Leipzig. Two sets of guinea pigs, one of which had been trained to smoke cigarettes and the other of which had been kept pure, were exposed to virulent cultures of the bacillus typhosus. The virtuous guineas at once leaped out of the window, but the cigarette smokers, besotted by nicotine, snouted the fatal germs and at once fell into convulsions. By next morning all of them save one were dead of arterio-sclerosis, and that one was a babbling maniac. . . .

    And all this medical evidence is amply supported by the statistics of our prisons and almshouses. Of the 226 murderers confined in Sing Sing prison between January 1, 1900, and December 31, 1910, no less than 207 ascribed their downfall to cigarettes. Of the 1,987 forgers imprisoned at the same place during the same time 1,562 blamed cigarettes. From Charleston Prison, near Boston, come reports that are even more impressive. Every one of the yeggmen now serving time there is a cigarette fiend. The late Dr. Clarence Richeson was another. Dr. Harvey H. Crippen, hanged in London for the murder of his wife, smoked 15 packages a day. Johann Hoch, the celebrated Chicago murderer, went to the gallows with a cigarette in his mouth and a glass of fake Plisener in his hand


  20. markmcculley Says:

    Hauerwas–Speaking directly, however, seems to have been a habit Jesus could not break. For example, Jesus surely over stated his case when he suggested that we must hate father and mother, wife and children if we are to follow him. Hating brothers and sisters may be closer to the mark (Luke 14: 25-28), but even that seems an exaggeration.

    But the real howler is his claim that the Temple will end in ruins. You just do not make those kinds of claims if you want to be elected messiah. At least, you do not make those kinds of claims about the Temple around the people of Israel. He surely must have known how to say what needed to be said so what is said could be heard.

    That Jesus spoke so directly is an indication that he was not trying to create a democratic coalition. He held the ancient offices of Israel. He was prophet, priest, and king. Those positions were not
    bestowed on him by an election. Moreover, how his life reconfigured each of those offices is a story in itself.

    Voting is often said to be the institution that makes democracies democratic. I think, however, that is a deep mistake. It is often overlooked but there is a coercive aspect to all elections. After an election 50.1% get to tell 49.9% what to do.

    We did not elect Jesus to be President. We did not elect Jesus to be the second person of the Trinity. The truth that makes us Christians means we are a people who are not destined to be celebrated in any social order, whether it calls itself democratic or not. Do not misunderstand! I am not suggesting that there are not better and worse forms of social and political organization. We do not live in a night when all cows are grey. But it is also the case that Christians are a people that believe what we believe is true. Such a people cannot help from time to time coming into conflict with those regimes organized on the assumption that there is no truth other than what “the people” say is the truth.

    Jesus tells his followers that we will be arrested and persecuted because of his name. This should be received as good news because Jesus tells us we will therefore have the opportunity to testify. To testify is to tell the truth before a world that often does not believe it possible to say what is true. Jesus assures us that we will be given the words and the wisdom to say at the appropriate time what is true.

    Lord is not a democratic title; it is a truthful designation for the one we worship. We have the authority to testify to the truth that is Jesus because that Jesus is Lord is not some general truth that can be known without witnesses.

    That what is true is known by witnesses to Jesus cannot help but be a deep and profound challenge to the status quo. It is a challenge because the status quo is based on the assumption that whatever is true must be available to anyone. Christians are not anyone. We are Jesus people who Jesus says will be hated and some of us will even be put to death. But if Jesus is who he says he is, what choice do we have?


    Even as he taught as one with authority, he did not act as if his authority depended on a majority vote. Rather his authority seemed to come directly from who he was – that is, he was the messiah who is truth itself and thus the One who speaks the truth. The truth is the Temple will be destroyed, and Jesus can speak that truth because he speaks of his own destruction. Jesus is the priest who is at once the altar and the sacrifice. In troubling his listeners, Jesus doesn’t attempt to persuade but rather trusts that the Spirit will reveal, without ambiguity, to those who have ears to hear that he is the messiah, the One who will be raised again in glory.

  21. markmcculley Says:

    The Nazi Christians wanted above all a manly church — eine männliche Kirche — unified by the Teutonic ideals of racial purity, military prowess and national destiny. A suffering, compassionate effeminate Christian offended the Nazi mind. For “in a manly time of struggle,” exclaimed one Nazi pastor at a Frankfurt rally, “one cannot get by with effeminate and sweet talk of peace.

    Against the Reich Church vulgarians and their boast that Christ represents “the embodiment of all manliness,” Bonhoeffer was drawn to the Christ who sojourns in the world as a beggar among beggars, in places of exclusion and distress, in such a way as to conceal himself in weakness, not to be known. . . . incognito, as a beggar among beggars, an outcast among the outcast…a sinner among sinners.”

    Metaxas’s vehement refusal to consider Bonhoeffer’s ambiguous sexuality — and his need to place Bonhoeffer in the pantheon of manly evangelicals — reflects Metaxas’s own preference. The shape of Bonhoeffer’s sensibilities and desires subverted the Nazi ideals of masculine religiosity. His witness  formed an lived critique of Nazi ideology and Nazi theology.

    View at Medium.com

  22. markmcculley Says:


    I know I’m not strong enough to be
    Everything that I’m supposed to be
    I give up
    I’m not strong enough
    Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
    Lord right now I’m asking you to be
    Strong enough

    Hebrews 11: 32 And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about those who… shut the mouths of lions, those who quenched the raging of fire, those who escaped the edge of the sword, those who gained strength after being weak…. Some were tortured in order to gain a better resurrection, some were mocked and beaten and put in prison. Others were stoned, some were sawed in two,. Some wandered in deserts, hiding in holes in the ground. All of them had faith, but they did NOT receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for US, so that they would not receive what was promised without us at the same time receiving what ws promised

    Rich Mullins—https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYVCe_8XJX0

    Did they tell you stories ’bout the saints of old
    Stories about their faith
    They say stories like that make a boy grow bold
    Stories like that make a man walk straight



  23. markmcculley Says:

    Philippians 4: 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

    but see also

    Philippians 3: 10 My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

    2 Corinthians 13:4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are WEAK IN HIM, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

    2 Corinthians 4: 10 We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, in order that the life of Jesus also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus’ life will also be revealed in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us

    This does not mean that Jesus is still dying.

    Jesus is not still dying, not even in us.

    We have either been placed in Christ’s death or we have not.

    We are not in the process of being placed into Christ’s death.

    We have either been sanctified or not.

    Some of the elect have been sanctified, and some of the elect have not yet been sanctified.
    II Thessalonians 2: 13 But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning[f] God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

    Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.

  24. markmcculley Says:

    Mark Driscoll— Some emergent types want to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. In Revelation, Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. T I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up. Without a big Jesus who has authority and hates sin as revealed in the Bible, we will have less and less Christians,

    mark mcculley–Here’s the problem with the Macho Jesus theology: It’s a false Jesus. The biblical Jesus DOES lay down his life, and does NOT whip people. If a person is unable to worship a Jesus who chooses self-sacrificial love , then that person cannot follow the true Jesus . And if there are less Christians and more false preacher swaggering, so be it.

  25. Mark Mcculley Says:

    By force of arms we nothing can—
    Full soon were we down-ridden;
    But for us fights the proper man,
    Whom God himself hath bidden.
    Ask ye, Who is this same?
    Christ Jesus is his name,
    The Lord The Son of Godd
    He, and no other one,
    Shall conquer in the battle.
    God’s word, for all their craft and force,
    One moment will not linger;
    Shall have its course—
    ’.And though they take our life,
    Goods, honor, children, wife,
    Yet ithese things shall vanish all—
    The City of God remaineth.

  26. Mark Mcculley Says:

    do not romanticize exile
    being different, a stranger who does not fit in

    the new creation is not an individual, even if that person is a private part

    Exodus 22: 21 21 “You must not exploit a foreign refugee or oppress
    them , since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.

    Isaiah 6: 5 I am of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips

    Jeremiah 14: 8 like a foreigner in the land,
    like a traveler stopping only for the night

    I Corinthians 12:22 We clothe those parts of the body that we think
    to be less honorable and not presentable

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